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History of Glen Rock, PA

History of Glen Rock, PA

Glen Rock Mill InnOne of the most exciting things about southcentral Pennsylvania is the area’s rich history. Whether you’re looking to move to York County or you’ve been in the area all your life, learning about this history can connect you to Pennsylvania’s vibrant past.

Glen Rock, located in Southern York County, is one of these historic regions. In fact, its downtown district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. To help you learn more about Glen Rock, we’ve composed this small guide to the area’s historical significance.

When was Glen Rock Founded?

Glen Rock was founded in August 29, 1859. It all strated though in 1837, William Heathcote — a native of Cheshire, England, who moved to Pennsylvania in 1826 — bought the mill that started it all.

Heathcote noted the area’s water power potential and bought a farm with an abandoned sawmill from a local farmer. He then built a brick woolen mill on the sawmill’s foundation. Farmers and mill workers began to populate the surrounding area, and the arrival of the first passenger train soon afterward provided a way for them to ship their goods to large nearby cities.

Life in Glen Rock boomed throughout the 1840s with the introduction of a post office, church, iron foundry and machine shop. But the area didn’t officially become a borough until August 29, 1859, the year after the 200 residents petitioned local courts for incorporation.

Glen Rock has continued to flourish since its founding with a current population of over 2000.

How Did Glen Rock Get Its Name?

William Heathcote suggested the name Glen Rock in December 1843. His inspiration? His favorite books.

The name was inspired by Heathcote’s readings of Sir Walter Scott. Lines such as “still pouring down the rocky glen” from Scott’s “Marmion” likely caught Heathcote’s eye as a potential name for the growing town.

Historical Attractions

These buildings, sites and traditions are a vital part of Glen Rock’s history:

  • Glen Rock Mill InnWhile Heathcote’s historic mill closed in the 1960s, a $1 million restoration project brought the building back to its former glory. The mill was repurposed as an inn and restaurant, and you can still find many original items from the mill that were incorporated into the renovation.
  • Heathcote Station: A station for the area’s first passenger train was built in the 1830s and named Heathcote Station. You can now enjoy a variety of small businesses housed in the historic downtown building.
  • Glen Rock Carol Singers: While not a physical site, no list of Glen Rock attractions would be complete without the carol singers. The tradition began in the 1840s with Heathcote and friends who journeyed throughout Glen Rock from midnight until morning on Christmas day singing carols, starting from the town square and taking a different route throughout the borough each year. This Glen Rock Carolers Association and townspeople continue this tradition today, as they have for more than 170 years.

Our agents at CENTURY 21 Core Partners are your experts on the history and lifestyle of Glen Rock. If you’re interested in relocating to the area, our team of professionals is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about life in this truly charming Pennsylvania small town.

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